Monday, January 24, 2011


I was frantic when Lauren Ortega called me. Victoria wasn't at school. I'd dropped her off, but she never made it to class. I was combing the street for her. This seemed to be my punishment. To lose my daughter when all I wanted was to hold on to her. But she wasn't missing. She'd gone to see Lauren in some vain hope that she could save her father. I wish I believed in that kind of naivety.

I ask to speak to Victoria, but Lauren says it's best that I come and get her. I ask where they are. Hunter's Point is the answer. What the hell is my daughter doing out at the old navy docks? I don't get an explanation from Lauren.

When I arrive at Hunter's Point, Lauren is the only one there. I demand to know what's going on and where my daughter is. Lauren is cocky and highhanded. Victoria is back in school and Lauren wants to know what I've done. The nerve of the woman. I won't talk. Can't talk. But she hits me with the results of her investigation and she's good. She made connections and knows something stinks, but she doesn't know everything. She leans on me. She'll go to the cops with what she's got. She might not know everything, but she knows enough to break the bond Richard has over me. I let it all out—the hate, the frustration, the helplessness, loneliness and everything that has polluted me ever since my marriage to Larry turned bad. I say ugly things, some of it I mean, some of it I don't. I'm not proud of what I've done and hearing myself leaves me feeling ashamed. Getting everything off my chest, the ugly and pretty, gives me some relief.

Lauren looks at me with disgust and contempt. I should slap the look from her face, but I deserve it. I deserve everything that's no doubt coming my way.

"They won't let him live," Lauren says.

It's a conclusion that kept me awake all night.

"Save him," I say. The words burn me, scorching my hate until it no longer remains. I mean what I say and I don't care about the consequences. I'll take whatever comes my way.

Lauren will do what she can for Larry, but how can she save a man no one can find? Richard has Larry or soon will. He let one thing slip in his hurry to silence me—Fisherman's Wharf.

It's not much, but I hope that it's enough to save Larry.

Lauren leaves me here alone with my hopes and prayers riding on her back.

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